Johns Hopkins pays $190M to patients secretly recorded during pelvic exams

A gynecologist who secretly recorded thousands of women during pelvic exams using tiny hidden cameras in pens and key fobs cost Johns Hopkins Hospital $190 million in settlement claims--one of the largest on record involving sexual misconduct by a physician, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Investigators found more than 1,300 videos and images in the homes and offices of Nikita A. Levy, M.D., a 25-year veteran of the Johns Hopkins Community Medicine system, who killed himself amid the investigation in Feb. 2013. Plaintiffs' attorneys say as many as 8,000 patients could have been affected, according to the Sun.  

Hopkins' insurance policy will pay for the settlement and it will not inhibit the health system from serving patients, staff and community, the university said in a statement. "We assure you that one individual does not define Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins is defined by the tens of thousands of employees who come to work determined to provide world-class care for our patients and their families," the statement read.

The Sun reported that plaintiffs' attorneys said Levy conducted "an excessive number of unnecessary pelvic exams and engag[ed] in inappropriate physical contact." Some patients said Levy practiced without medical professionals on hand as observers, used in hospitals for the safety of patients and doctors.

Hospital officials "have implemented numerous steps to educate, inform and empower our staff to identify and alert us if they have any concerns," Hopkins Medicine Spokeswoman Kim Hoppe wrote in an email to the Sun. "We also conducted a comprehensive initial inspection of our facilities and continue to conduct random inspections." Large hospital systems like Hopkins can sustain a large financial hit like this, but management must be even more cautious when it comes to hiring and affiliation, experts told the Sun, especially when brand name and reputation are on the line.

Levy isn't the only case of docs getting caught on camera. In April, a Virginia man filed a lawsuit alleging that doctors mocked and defamed him while he was unconscious during a colonoscopy, after he captured the incident on his cell phone camera, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the article  
- read the statement